Budgeting | Personal Finance | Article

Prices are Rising : How To Cope With the Increased Cost of Living

by The Simple Sum Team | 17 Aug 2022 | 7 mins read

This article is brought to you by NTUC.

Unless you have been able to survive without buying anything in the last few months, it’s been nearly impossible to miss the increase in prices of most daily necessities, and you might be thinking to yourself: just when did things get so exorbitant and out of range? Such is the phenomenon that is dubbed inflation, when economic and other forces drive prices up and diminish our purchasing power, and it’s been the talk of the town for quite some time now.

From groceries to petrol to housing (especially housing!), the cost of goods and services are on the rise due to global developments like the Russia-Ukraine conflict (which has affected the global supply chain for food) and increasing energy prices. Earlier this year, in the first quarter of 2022, the Monetary Authority of Singapore warned everyone about a sharp increase in core inflation, and true enough, we’re feeling the ripple effects today, with experts saying that there’s more to come.

So now that we’re all caught up on what inflation is and what significant factors are driving its increase, what can we possibly do to beat inflation–or at least ensure we’re still able to afford the goods and services that we need to live our lives?

Take another look at your expenses and adjust your budget 

When things go up and you need to tighten your belt, the first thing to do is to keep a closer eye on where every cent is going. It’s time to pull out those spreadsheets (or notebooks if you still swear by pen and paper) and scrutinise your own spending habits, your necessities and needs, and the things you occasionally indulge in. What are the things you can do without? Where can you lessen your spending if you can help it? If inflation is undercutting your purchasing power, then it’s important to do whatever you can to maintain it and it all begins with examining your usual expenses and your budget! 


Look for cheaper alternatives and utilise spending perks 

As you work out your budget to try and lessen the hurt that inflation is causing you, open yourself up to the possibility of cheaper alternatives, especially for everyday necessities that you cannot live without.

More often than not these days, you can find a wide variety of household items and food products under supermarket house brands that are more budget-friendly. Think items that you use on a daily basis from rice, bread, eggs and oil to laundry detergent, toilet paper and garbage bags. Hence, you can find yourself saving quite a bit by just doing a switch, but don’t just do it blindly make your own price comparison first as the cheaper prices may not apply for every single item, especially if other brands are on a special discount. You can also look out for days in the week that there are special discounts at supermarkets.

One other way to tighten your spending is to utilise the power of your spending perks. Many credit cards and memberships offer exclusive discounts and deals, as well as rewards and cashback. Use them for the greater good of your wallet especially when shopping for essentials (and essential big-ticket items).


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Make adjustments to your lifestyle 

Are you the sort of person who loves heading out for big group dinners, especially now that COVID restrictions have considerably loosened? Or are you prone to stress-spending when the going gets tough? Perhaps you have picked up a new habit of taking private transport like taxis and made public transport a thing of the past in a bid to avoid catching the coronavirus.

Whatever your reasons may be, now is the time to reconsider these spending habits and see what you can cut out. You can still meet with your friends for meals and have the same enjoyable time with a potluck arrangement or a picnic outdoors. Alternatively, be on the lookout for dining deals from credit cards or membership programmes that you can take advantage of. As for stress relief, spending isn’t the only option, and even without these inflation times, it’s not a good habit to have.

If you’re already not spending a lot but are still feeling the pinch, there are still other adjustments you can make that could help save you a few dollars. You can even try taking shorter (but still just as cleansing) showers to lower your monthly utility bills.

By making lifestyle-related adjustments, you can redirect your funds instead to what you actually need, whether it’s essential things like paying your bills on time or simply padding your emergency savings.

Increase your income: ask for that raise, invest in upskilling, or take on a side hustle

If scrimping and saving and giving your budget a makeover isn’t enough, consider talking to your employers about getting that raise or promotion. Increase your chances of getting a raise or even a better job by upskilling take courses and think about what else you might want to explore in your career. You never know what opportunity might come your way if you just step out of your comfort zone.  

Think about what you can do to improve or increase your skill sets and resume. Perhaps you might want to take up courses so you can finally kickstart that side hustle you’ve always dreamed of doing. By improving yourself, your earning potential grows ever higher, which means your purchasing power can withstand the effects of inflation. Why not? 

(Of course, there are side hustles you don’t really need to upskill for, such as delivering food or freelance writing, if you’re already naturally inclined towards these avenues of earning more income!)

Making spending and lifestyle changes as well as working on your skills set might take some getting used to, but they can go some way in easing the impact of inflation on your wallet and your everyday life. We cannot stop inflation, and we certainly cannot swim against the currents. What we can do is to look inward, whether at the way we’re spending our money or our skills. This way, we’re setting ourselves up for a better financial future by giving ourselves better “armour” in the form of savvy financial habits and an improved career outlook.

This content is sponsored by NTUC.

The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) is committed to support everyone manage the cost of living through the many initiatives and programmes that they have.

The FairPrice Group launched the Stretch Your Dollar programme, which includes a 5% discount for over 100 daily essentials at NTUC FairPrice every Friday till the end of the year, and holding prices of hot low and no sugar coffee and tea at 90 cents at Kopitiam and NTUC Foodfare outlets islandwide. This is in addition to the various discounts on weekdays, ‘Shiok Savings’ and FairPrice house brand items.

Better yet, NTUC Members and NTUC Link Members can now enjoy 10% savings at 23 Kopitiam outlets when they pay with the FairPrice app. You can download the app from Google Play or App Store.

If you’re an NTUC member, you also get rewarded with Linkpoints that you can use to enjoy savings whenever you spend on everything from dining, travel and attractions to insurance and healthcare services. View all NTUC membership privileges here.

NTUC membership also includes the opportunity to upskill yourself from over 75,000 online courses and increase your earning power from just $5/month (it is otherwise $10/month) at the NTUC LearningHub Learning eXperience Platform. Learn more about the benefits that come with being a NTUC member here. #everyworkermatters #membersfirstworkersalways